Today is Chaitra Shuddha Pratipada–Varsha Pratipada, Yugadi, or Gudi–Padwa, the first day of the Hindu New Year!
May the coming year bring happiness and prosperity to all my blogging friends!
I had intended to write some glimpses of the year just ended. I quickly realized, however, that public life in India during this past year can be summed up, for the most part, in just one word- Greed.
Scam after scam has been uncovered, disclosing just how far some are ready to go in pursuit of money and power. Influential people amassing huge amounts by dishonest means. And not so influential people following their example.
Leo Tolstoy’s well-known story ‘How Much Land Does A Man Need?’ tells the tale of a peasant, Pahom, and his greed for land. He wanted, and obtained, more and more land, but was never satisfied with what he had.
Ultimately, he had a chance to own all the land he could walk around in a day. He started to walk, but became increasingly greedy and tried to walk around such a large area of land, that he could barely make it back to the starting point.
The effort was too much for him, however, and he fell down dead at the finish line.
So ultimately how much land he did he need?
“His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for Pahom to lie in, and buried him in it. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed.”
Is Indian society going down the same road that Tolstoy’s peasant went? Will our desire for ‘more’ lead to our doom?
Today’s mantra seems to be “Ye dil maange more” ? But how much more will be enough for us? Will we ever be satisfied with what we have obtained?
The Subhaashitkar says-
को देशः कानि मित्राणि कः कालः कौ व्ययागमौ |
कश्र्चाहं का च मे शक्तिः इति चिन्त्यं मुहुर्मुहुः ||
A person should reflect on which nation one lives in, who are one’s friends, what the present time (situation) is, what one’s expenditure as well as income is. A person should think about who one is, and what one’s strength is.
A person should reflect on all these again and again, and then decide on his future actions.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to take the Subhaashitkar’s advice. To pause and think about where we are heading, and where we really want to go. To reflect on what our future course of action should be.
If we do so, I am sure we will be able to decide which road would be most beneficial- for us as individuals, as well as for us as a society.